I was so impressed with Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, that I decided to read his follow-up, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Overall, it’s a well written piece that reinforces the concepts from Amusing Ourselves to Death, which was my biggest disappointment with the book. It just didn’t feel like Technopoly covered a lot of new ground.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying or suggesting that the concepts covered in the book aren’t thought provoking or relevant in today’s tech-centric society. In fact, the concepts in the book are more relevant today, and will be even more relevant in the future, than when Postman originally wrote the book in 1992. It’s just that I had set the bar so high after reading Amusing Ourselves to Death that I was let down a bit.
If I had read Technopoly prior to reading Amusing Ourselves to Death, then I’m sure I’d be writing a different review. I’d be rambling on about how Postman predicted the dark side of technology and its adverse effects on society and how we need to be heed his concerns to avoid becoming tools of technology rather than using technology as tools.
In summary, I’m a huge fan of Postman’s work, and Technopoly does not change my opinion of Postman or his teachings. If anything, it reinforces it with more examples of how technology is continually fraying the fabric of our society, most time in ways that we are unaware of or oblivious to. I’d recommend reading Technopoly, especially if you haven’t read, or don’t intend to read Amusing Ourselves to Death. On the other hand, if you’ve already read Amusing Ourselves to Death, set your expectations appropriately and don’t expect to be blown away by Technopoly. It will merely build upon and reinforce the concepts Postman introduces in his earlier work.